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Reports from St. James


The Vestry and Strategic Planning Committee updates.


Update on Strategic Planning Process

Posted on Mon, June 29, 2015 at 5:59:00 pm


Dear St. James Parishioners,

The planning process at St. James continues. Following the Town Hall meetings, where we received valuable input from the attendees, additional work has been done to provide more detail to a plan that will be submitted to the vestry for approval and implementation. This more-detailed plan will first be submitted to the April workshop participants: the vestry, members of the Strategic Planning Committee, the task force chairs, and the clergy. Once the workshop participants review and provide further input, the resulting plan will be distributed to the entire parish.

At its August meeting, the vestry will consider the establishment of a standing committee charged with the responsibility of implementing the vestry-approved strategic plan. We understand that we can not predict the future. Accordingly, the plan will be fluid and will take into consideration conditions that may come into existence over time.

Thank you for your continued interest in the future of St. James Episcopal Church. We will keep you informed as progress is made and ask that you always feel free to give us your thoughts and ideas.

Lee Griffin
Senior Warden

The Very Rev. J. Mark Holland




Town Hall Meeting Reports

Posted on Mon, June 01, 2015 at 8:26:00 am


Dear St. James Parishioners,

The attendance at the two Town Hall meetings on May 17 and 20 exceeded all expectations -- over 300 parishioners attended! The product of the April Planning Workshop attended by the Strategic Planning Committee members, the Task Force chairs and the Clergy was shared. A mission statement, a set of Core Values, Vision Statements, and a draft plan were discussed. Breakout table discussions followed to review the above and to answer four questions. We received valuable input from all of you at these meetings and want to make that information available to the parish. A summary version of your input is available here and you can access the full reports of each table here.

Our planning process has reached what I refer to as "the end of the beginning." Much work remains to be done as we finalize the strategic plan and then move into the implementation phase. Volunteer opportunities will be plentiful and your suggestions/ideas will be sought and respected. We commit to keeping you informed and asking for your input each step of the way.

Thank you for your participation and particularly your love of our Lord and St. James Episcopal Church. We ask for your continued prayers.

Lee Griffin
Senior Warden


Strategic Planning Workshop & Town Meetings

Posted on Tue, April 21, 2015 at 5:22:00 pm


By Lolly Martin

A Planning Workshop was held April 17 and 18 at St. James Episcopal Church. Hosted by the Strategic Planning Committee, the workshop was attended by 35 members of the vestry, clergy, and Task Force leaders. Our consultant, Reb Scarborough, facilitated the two-day session of prayer, fellowship, discussion, and decisions. Our workshop objective was to create a foundational vision document and expand that to a draft strategic plan with clear goals and specific objectives, using the survey responses from parishioners as our guide.

We began Friday with opening remarks from Senior Warden Lee Griffin and our rector, Fr. Mark Holland; both church leaders renewed their commitment to leading St. James toward building unity in our congregation and moving toward a vibrant future at St. James. As a group, we then reviewed key findings of the survey and listened to reports of the eight task force leaders; each report is linked, here: Day School, Financial, Real Estate, Maintenance, Youth, Adult Christian Formation, Millennials, and Community Ministry. We closed the first day with a draft vision document including Mission, Core Values and Vision Statements for St. James over the next five years.

On Saturday, we refined and validated Friday’s work. We then moved into building out a strategic plan for St. James based on the vision document and, working in small groups, we defined specific goals and objectives. Our results are now in the hands of our consultant who will consolidate the two-day efforts into a strategic plan draft.

The draft plan will be shared with all of you at Town Hall meetings on May 17 and May 20, 2015 where we will seek your input on the plan. This is your opportunity to review, revise, and accept this plan.

Please plan to attend one of these important events! Along with a fried chicken dinner, nursery will be provided for 0-4. Movies/babysitter will be available in the youth suite for ages 5-12.

Please make a reservation for dinner and/or child care at the Town Hall meetings, here.

Strategic Planning Survey Report

Posted on Thu, April 16, 2015 at 6:51:00 pm




Dear St. James Parishioners,

We are pleased to announce that the St. James Parish Survey is now available for your review! The survey results are extensive -- over 200 pages. The results include both answers to the 50 survey questions, and all of the comments submitted in the survey -- literally thousands of parishioners' intense and heartfelt observations about life at St. James. It is the combination of these two survey components that fully describe the current state of our church.

Click here for a copy of the St. James Survey Summary that provides quick highlights of the key findings. You are also encouraged to go to the full survey results online, where you can have an in-depth review and understanding of the results. This is available here. The password is "SJECBR" (note ALL CAPS). A few printed copies of the full survey are in the church office and are available for your onsite review.

The survey results indicate a deep and long lasting love of St. James on the part of the congregation and many other positive observations. We also have identified many areas that need our attention to better meet our parishioners' needs and grow the parish, including the need to build Christian education programs for both adults and youth that are robust, continuous, and, most of all, effective. Other areas needing attention include the challenge to grow membership and church attendance and to find more effective ways to welcome and integrate new members. 

The survey responses also indicate that there is a lack of sense of unity at St. James, perhaps reflective of past social activism and/or perceived political involvement on the part of St. James. We, your Senior Warden and Rector, jointly commit to lead St. James in creating a sense of unity as we go forward. This is essential to our future and we know there is much we can do to worship and improve our community.

A Planning Workshop will be held this weekend for the vestry, clergy, Task Force leaders, and Strategic Planning Committee to begin looking at the future of St. James based on survey findings and the research of our task forces. Our workshop objective is to create a foundational vision document and expand that to a draft strategic plan with clear goals and specific objectives. Our consultant, Reb Scarborough, will be facilitating this process for us. The draft plan will be shared with the full congregation at Town Hall meetings on May 17 and May 20, 2015.

This is an exciting and promising time in our church life, and we ask your prayers as we develop a plan to grow our Christian community.


Lee Griffin
Senior Warden
The Very Rev. J. Mark Holland




Strategic Planning Update

Posted on Mon, March 23, 2015 at 2:28:00 pm



Dear St. James Parishioners,

We now have the results of our parish-wide survey. Your response exceeded all our expectations. Over 349 parishioners filled out the survey. Approximately 250 parishioners answered 100% of the questions and wrote literally thousands of comments. The consultant assisting the Strategic Planning Committee tells us that he has never witnessed such an overwhelming response to a church survey.

The love for our church and church family is obvious as one plows through the survey answers and comments. Members of St. James wanted to speak and wanted an opportunity to provide input. We are blessed to have each other and our rich tradition. At the same moment, we see the need to look into the future, react to changing trends and set forth a plan to grow our church family and to bring more people to Christ.

What is next? The Strategic Planning Committee - with our consultant - is preparing a survey summary that will be made available to the entire parish. The complete survey will also be available online after April 1. A workshop will be held to review the survey and the work of eight hard-working task forces. From the workshop, a strategic plan will be developed that will then be presented at Town Hall meetings for the entire parish on May 2 and 6.

The above is only the beginning. Implementation of the plan will take place over the following months and years.

Thank you for your wonderful cooperation. The committee has heard your voices and appreciates your passion for St. James.

In closing, I want to thank the hard work of our committee and especially the leadership of its chair - Lolly Martin. Lolly is not only a pro in the field of planning, she also loves St. James as do our committee members:

Bob Bowsher
Pat Broderick
Charlie Frey
Chris Frink
Lee Griffin
Mark Holland
Lolly Martin
Nancy Jo Poirrier

More later.



Lee Griffin                         
Sr. Warden  

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